We all go to in person networking events and engage online and meet people who we think are interesting and could be great colleagues, clients or referrals. We also work with people on projects, tasks and events on a daily basis. Not to mention those in career transition, changing jobs and trying to find new jobs.
There’s a lot of content and conversations to manage and especially follow-up with today. We juggle multiple communications in our life activities both on and offline, which require us to follow-up. Sadly, I find most people don’t.
We are lost in and bombarded with millions of images, messages and impressions relentlessly coming at us at lightning speed. It’s so easy to fall through the email, social and Web cracks. But that should NOT be an excuse or an out for not improving our follow-up as a core relationship building tool and professionalism quality.
Email, text and social media have become a primary way we communicate in real time. As much as this is our norm, it is has changed the way we follow-up and is creating somewhat of a “lost art of follow up.”
The blending of direct follow-up via phone and the online world gives us so many options and opportunities to touch people. Follow-up is the most important activity you engage in after meeting new people, working with people, job searching and in your day to day communications.
No matter what you do or what profession you are in, the benefits of timely, personable and strategic follow up are many:
- It is essential for leveraging your networking in person and online.
- Its the keystone to relationship building and retention.
- It opens the door for earning referrals, meetings, interviews.
- It builds your authority and your professionalism in your niche.
Following up with people in a thoughtful and strategic way should be the standard that defines your professional style, as well as the professional style of others in your network.
Follow-Up Tips to Make it More Memorable
1. Practice Timeliness
Answer and follow-up with people as soon as you can with your thank you, introduction, information or any request or needs they may have. Unless it’s clearly spam, I try to answer as many people as possible that take the time to contact me.
2. Knowledge is a Powerful Tool
Taking time to research a company or person so that you know what they do and a little bit about them is very smart and strategic for opening conversations.
3. Show a Willingness to Engage
Be willing to engage, so that you exchange knowledge and forge a strong mutual connection as a starting point. Using all the social and online tools and tactics today gives you multiple touch points. Use them.
4. Be Unexpected
Delivering good, or great follow-up and service today is considered sub par. We expect nothing short of exceptional, as the bar is high and competition is fierce.
But, figuring out what your unexpected is can really change perception. Think about little things that are common sense and humane that can have a big impact such as spending more time, thoughtfulness, providing an endorsement or introduction or helping someone when you see they need help because it’s the right thing to do.
5. Make Gratitude and Kindness Your Center
Forging relationships based on the shared values of gratitude and kindness give them the best chance of growing and evolving long term.
6. Be Patient and Persistent and Know When to Move On
Don’t give up on people too easily that you have a relationship with or feel a potential with. We are all so time challenged. Be strategic and persistent and respect people’s time, but know when it’s time to step away and move on. Not everyone is in it to make it happen. Keeping in touch is a lot easier than it’s ever been.
Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up. Never fail to follow-up. It’s a definer.
What do you do to stand out and be more memorable in your follow-up?